24 April 2016

Magnus Carlsen vs. Muhammad Ali


The matchup isn't a direct one, of course, but over the weekend I saw the new(*) Porsche commercial that features alternating sequences of Ali and Carlsen warming up and then fighting matches...against themselves.  The marketing point is that only a champion can defeat another champion - there are also dueling Porsches intercut - and that there's nothing better than a Porsche.  The commercial ran during coverage of the Stuttgart Open tennis tournament (sponsored by Porsche), which is another parallel of chess vs. tennis.

It's always interesting to see how chess sometimes surfaces in popular culture, in this case in the luxury market.  It's also cheering as a chess aficionado to see Carlsen up there with Ali as a contemporary icon of what a world champion can be.

(*) the original version of the commercial, from December, also featured Maria Sharapova, but she got dropped after the drug test issue surfaced.  Honestly I like the newer version better, it's punchier with the intercuts and from the standpoint of total percentage of screen time has relatively more chess content. ;)

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